A couple of weeks ago our much anticipated long weekend finally arrived. Having moved to Sydney earlier this year, new jobs meant limited leave and limited holidays. Therefore we decided we may as well make the most of being in a new place and explore destinations within driving distance. First off the ranks was Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort, in the Snowy Mountains Region and about 5 hours south-west of Sydney. It offers great outdoor adventures such as snow sports, hiking and mountain biking which is exactly what we were looking for to escape the city life.

We left Sydney early Thursday morning and headed straight to Canberra (an easy 3hr drive) for breakfast. Instagram definitely makes finding somewhere to eat a lot easier! After short-listing a few we decided on Double Shot Deakin which definitely met our breakfast expectations. It has a diverse menu with the usual fare plus plenty of healthy and allergy friendly options along with a delicious looking selection of raw cakes and desserts in the cabinet.

We got back on the road for the last two hour stretch of the journey after a quick drive around Canberra. Despite been told Canberra was not the most exciting of cities, it is very pretty and the winding river and tree-lined streets gave a lovely relaxed atmosphere. As we neared the mountains, the landscape changed from grassy farmland to fields filled with large rocks and peculiar “dead looking” trees with no leaves and thick scrawling braches. As we continued towards Crackenback the distant mountains capped with snow appeared bright against the clear blue skies. Coming from 30+deg heat in Sydney to snowy mountains within 5 hours was definitely a bizarre sensation.

After checking into the resort, we went for a walk around the grounds to familiarise ourselves and plan our activities for the next few days. The resort itself offers complimentary kayaking and paddle boarding on the lake, archery, tennis courts (and equipment hire), frisby golf, a 9 hole golf course and plenty of well-marked walks and hikes. Additionally there are mountain bikes for hire with 2 hour, 4hour and full day options available. We set out to make the most of our first day with a good few hours of kayaking and tennis before heading back to one of the small nearby towns for a quick dinner.

Day Two started with a complimentary buffet breakfast at one of the on-site restaurants. This restaurant is built over the lake thereby providing the most picturesque start to any day. As we planned the day ahead we looked straight over the lake, which on a cloudless blue sky day was absolutely stunning.

Over breakfast we decided the day would be ideal for mountain biking so we headed straight over to hire the bikes after breakfast. After getting some advice and trail ideas we packed a few snacks and headed out onto the tracks. I have probably been on a bike about 3 times in the last 5 years so I think my partner was slightly worried at my lack of coordination as we set off. However I quickly recalled my childhood biking skills and we set off along a flat part of the track following the river before advancing onto the steeper mountain tracks. The tracks were great and well sign-posted with the level of difficulty to help you work out the best route for your capability. We managed to get a fair way up the mountain before I convinced my boyfriend we needed to turn back or I wouldn’t be able to make it back to the resort. I think it was a good move as exhaustion was setting in fast and I wasn’t the only one struggling to walk after we got back that afternoon!

Day three brought a hike up the mountain in Koziacho National Park. After another picturesque breakfast looking over the lake we drove up to the Thredbo Information Centre to analyse walks and settled on one of the steeper nature trails. I knew that we were going to be going steadily uphill but I always seem to underestimate just how far you need to walk uphill when you are walking up a mountain. However once we reached the top it was a nice flat walk along the ridge where we managed to get to the snowline and see some stunning water falls. We followed the waterfalls and streams all the way to the bottom and emerged refreshed and revitalised and nowhere near exhausted as the previous days mountain biking.

Despite been away for only three nights, packing up to leave on Sunday morning we were in happy spirits. A weekend of fresh air and exercise was just what we needed and with the intensity of activities we did, the short stay was plenty. Another highlight of the trip was the wildlife, particularly the kangaroos. There were several families of kangaroo’s, which would be just meters away and regularly outside our little cabin. While we probably won’t head back there any time soon, this is only due to the fact that there are so many other places we also want to explore. I would highly recommend the snowy mountain region to anyone looking for some fresh air and outdoor activities as well as a relaxing break away.